Holly Sands ponders being on the sidelines of Dubai’s engagement and baby boom
Lately, I’ve begun to believe they must be putting something in the mocktails in Dubai. I can hardly sign into Facebook, open an email or read a Whatsapp without being greeted with the minute-by-minute breakdown of an acquaintance’s engagement, wedding or conception (well, not quite so much detail on the latter...). It seems matrimony and pro-creation has never been more in the air, and though I am unequivocally thrilled for each of them, I can’t help feeling like I’m being left trailing in their wake.
I know I’m far from being the only one to have viewed Dubai as something as a Neverland, where we could all just have our bills included in our rent forever and never have to learn how to manage our finances like grown-ups. People swore to me they felt the same, that this was the glorious reality we had all been searching for, a place where we never had to learn to cook and fend for ourselves, with hundreds of restaurants waiting to deliver us a square meal, all for the price of a return bus ticket in some other countries.
If this is Neverland though, then I must be Tinkerbell (sans the logistically-challenged pixie-human love triangle). The spinster fairy watching on the sidelines as Peter Pan and Wendy waltz off into the sunset – though not before flashing her one carat diamond to their Facebook friends in a final act of loved-up triumph.
I used to get invited to brunches, now the only major gatherings on my calendar are baby showers and hen weekends. Still, at least the food is good, and there’s loads of it (you won’t find the brides-to-be jostling for room at the buffet table). It’s that thought I cling to as I prepare for another game of ‘guess the baby food in the nappy’ (if you don’t know, you don’t want to) and pretend I’m not worried about who I will find to talk to on topics other than flower arrangements and birthing partners.
But it’s by dutifully attending some of these events that I come by stories which go some way to reminding me to enjoy my unmarried status while I can. Tales of Dhs50,000 honeymoons on top of the wedding itself, the military operation required to fly family members around the world for hen weekends and stag parties, not to mention for the big day, and negotiating the tantrums of friends who aren’t allowed to bring their plus ones or kids.
At least if I put all thoughts of marriage to the back of my mind for a while, I’ll buy myself a bit more time to pull together the eye-watering amount of cash required. Right now my savings probably couldn’t buy me a taxi to Dubai International Airport, let alone flights and two weeks full-board in the Seychelles. In the meantime, put me down for all the baby showers you can find – Tinkerbell may as well get a few more square meals out of this boom.
Holly Sands is our features editor. She’s the only woman in Dubai not wearing a ring